Author: Mary Shelley
Shelley uses the classic ‘ 3 act’ structure.
introduction characters and location — conflict — resolution of problem.
Weak point: the re-birth of the ‘fiend’ and
…his discovery of nature, his senses and language.
33 sentences recording the creature’s every movement and or thought. (part 2, pg107).
I just lost interest.
The constant use of “the first person” narrative was numbing.
Deja-vu: death scene page 180 is exactly the same as
…episode #1.1 UK detective series “Broadchurch”.
I read the book while listening to the audio version.
I wanted the full experience.
Narrator: Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) is excellent as Victor Frankenstein.
Unfortunately the voice of ‘the creature, the fiend’ sounded
….like he was constantly on the verge of tears.
…not threatening enough.
Gothic: Frankenstein is an example of this genre.
The Gothic tradition rejected reason, clarity and rational thinking.
It focused heavily on imagination, emotion and extreme passion.
Themes: death (10 people die in the book!), decay, terror, confinement, entrapment.
Main character: (Victor) feels trapped in his own guilt….while shouting for relief and help.
Antagonist (grotesque creature) is confused and isolated.
Literary device: epistolary technique
Letters reveal back round and gives Shelley means to logically end the story.
Letters are a portrait of the soul, confession, mask.
Letters connotate privacy and intimacy.
Letters are used as a ‘frame story‘ (mise-en-abyme) – story within a story.
Shelley is not as skillful in this area. The book is filled with generic descriptions (snow capped mountains, dashing waterfalls,) and she fails to use color to paint a picture of the sun (mentioned 45x), moon (21x) and stars (12x). Shelley’s favorite colors promote the gothic mood of darkness (black 17x) and light (white 11x)
I could only find one symbol.
Ice (mentioned 41x) – represents Victor’s fate.
The creature leaves him a message:
“Follow me; I seek the everlasting ices of the north,
…where you will feel the misery of cold and frost…”
I was not impressed with this novel.
It does have its lyrical moments…..but lacked gravitas.
Weak point: too much dull, stolid repetition of same words
…instead of lively, fleet narration.
repetitive: fiend (33x), guilt/guilty/guilt-ridden (27x), abhor (17x) and I/he/she/it found (89x)
Shelley describes nature, moon, stars, sun (sun,sunshine,sunset 60x)
…mist, storms, Mont Blanc, glaciers, sea, waves
…lakes, rocks, wind, Alps, Valley Chamounix… etc ad nausem.
Pages and pages with descriptions of wanderings
… of Victor and the creature.
It feels like ‘book-stuffing.
It just gets to be a bit too much. (Pages 94 – 103 are examples)
Strong point: This book is an amazing achievement
…for a young 19 year old woman, non-writer, failed poet in 19th C literary scene.
If you want a great gothic….read Dracula and leave this one on the shelf.
The R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril challenge, otherwise known as R.I.P. takes place every September 1st through October 31st.
The purpose of the R.I.P. challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, or Supernatural.
There are multiple levels of participation (Perils):
- Peril the First – Read four books, any length, that fit the definition of R.I.P. literature.
- Peril the Second – Read two books of any length.
- Peril the Third – This Peril involves reading one book.
- Peril of the Short Story – You can read short stories any time during the challenge.
- Peril on the Screen – This is for those of us who like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious, gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large.
- Peril of the Review – Submit a short review of any book you read.
This year I will do
- Peril the First
- Peril of the Short Story
- Peril of the Review if I find some time.
- All my selections are from my TBR that I am trying desperately to reduce.
- These are all potential reads….it all depends on my ‘spooky’ mood.
- Hashtag: #RIPXIII
- Hawthorne – Henry James – READ (essay)
- Frankenstein – M. Shelley – READ (Gothic novel)
- Dark Entries – R. Aickman – READ (short stories)
- The Raven – E. A. Poe – READ (poem)
- Aletheia – J.S. Breukelaar – READ (horror)